The European Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a new Single Market Programme in June 2018, based on the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027. This programme will help strengthen the governance of the single market, increase consumer protection and support the competitiveness of our industry in particular SMEs.
Single Market Programme financing for food policies will focus on the protection of human, animal and plant health.
Synergies and complementarities with other EU instruments will be exploited.
The Commission has proposed to maintain a specific food strand in the Single Market Programme, with a total allocation of 1.68 billion €.
In addition, in line with the new MFF architecture for a more flexible and agile financing framework, food chain measures will be integrated in other budget priorities such as research, innovation and digital policies (Horizon Europe, Digital Europe). Those instruments, as well as the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), will also cover health-related actions, such as measures against antimicrobial resistance, in the context of the 'One Health' approach.
Moreover, food safety, animal welfare, fight against food waste or sustainable use of pesticides are part of the new Common Agricultural Policy objectives.
Last but not least, the Commission has proposed to increase flexibility within and between programmes, strengthening crisis management tools by enlarging the scope of the emergency aid reserve. It will be used to tackle unforeseen events and to respond to emergencies in the areas of animal diseases and plant pests that can pose potential public health risks and have a major economic impact.
Food Safety as part of the Single Market Programme
The Single Market Programme will bring together activities that were previously financed under five programmes in the areas of competitiveness of enterprises, consumer protection, customers and end-users in financial services, policy making in financial services and food chain. These are all related to the functioning of internal market and the competitiveness of SMEs.
The specific objectives in the food safety area within the Single Market Programme include, among others:
- Prevent and eradicate diseases and pests by conducting surveys for plant pests and by implementing surveillance, monitoring and eradication activities for animal diseases as well as emergency measures addressing both animals and plants, in order to ensure a high level health status in the EU territory;
- Support a sustainable food production and consumption by reducing food waste and informing consumers in view of ensuring high quality standards across the EU;
- Improve the effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of official controls all along the food chain with the view to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of EU rules in this area.
- Support policies to increase animal welfare.
Main priorities and beneficiaries
Food safety activities funded through the Single Market Programme will focus on priority areas with proven EU added value.
The funding will range from effective preventive measures to a decisive crisis management system.
Overall goal will remain to maintain and enhance high EU standards for animal and plant health.
The following actions, among others, will be eligible for funding:
- Veterinary and phytosanitary emergency measures: activities carried out by Member States, third countries and international organisations to prevent, control and eradicate diseases and pests and extraordinary measures to tackle emergency situations in the event of outbreaks or food crises (i.e. avian influenza, African swine fever).
- Activities to support the improvement of the welfare of animals in close co-operation with Member States.
- Funding of European Union reference laboratories to ensure high-quality diagnostic and uniform testing in the EU and European Union reference centres to exchange best practices and provide training on key policies.
- Coordinated control programmes on animal diseases and plant pests, as well as information and data collection: sectoral measures to contribute to the overarching protection needs, and strategic support to the internal market and trade, including training, alert and notification tools managed at Commission level.
- Activities to prevent food waste, combat food fraud, and support sustainable food production and consumption, including information and awareness: to improve the sustainability of the food system by increasing consumers’ awareness as well as through a determined public–private engagement for reducing food waste all along the food chain.
- Training of staff of the competent authorities responsible for official controls and other parties involved in the management and/or prevention of animal diseases or plant pests to ensure good knowledge of food and feed law, animal and plant health, animal welfare as well as to develop a harmonised approach to official controls by the officials, working in the relevant areas both from the EU and third countries.
- Measures carried out to protect human, animal and plant health from unsafe products and substances arriving at an external EU border to ensure the safety of EU's food supply and the application of the same standards of food safety for all products regardless of origin.
Funding will be provided through all means envisaged under the new financial regulation (grants, procurement).
The Council must unanimously agree on the future long-term EU budget and legislative proposal, with the consent of the European Parliament.
The Commission has already declared that it will do everything in its power to facilitate a swift agreement. An agreement should be reached before the European Parliament elections and Sibiu Summit of 9 May 2019.